Review: ‘Preacher’ Pairs Bonkers Violence With Some Big Secrets

In Season 1 Episode 6, "Sundowner," we learn a few key facts as Jesse really crosses the line.
Dominic Cooper in "Preacher."
Dominic Cooper in "Preacher"
Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Preacher’ Only Hints at Tragic Pasts, But Doesn’t Skimp on Bloodshed

Most Bonkers Moment

Ah, that’s more like it. While “Sundowner” doesn’t completely solve the issues “Preacher” has had so far, it at least manages to replicate the exciting highs of the first two episodes, and has some fine character scenes, to boot. We open where we left off last week, with Jesse and the angels discussing Jesse’s new powers. They continue to be cagey until Jesse just commands them to spill the beans, so they do: Jesse is possessed by Genesis, the child of an angel and a demon whose power rivals that of God almighty. Fiore and Deblanc were its caretakers, but it managed to escape somehow. And what’s more, Genesis is a secret to both sides, since its power could turn the tide in the endless angel/demon war.

Fiore and Deblanc are down on Earth without permission, so they’re being hunted by the Seraphim, the highest order of angels, one of whom enters the diner in the guise of a blonde woman and starts hunting the trio with the tenacity of a Terminator. Once she tracks them back to their hotel room, a truly inspired action sequence commences, with Jesse in the middle and the angels all killing each other and resurrecting, filling the room with their duplicate corpses. The chaos continues even after Cassidy shows up, until our heroes finally manage to knock the Seraphim out. This is the kind of chaos that makes “Preacher” stand out, and while it’s understandable that not every episode can sustain an action sequence like this, they tend to be better when they do. The action scenes have a verve that “Preacher’s” quieter scenes tend to lack, generally because its characters have largely been flat and one-note, despite some good effort on the actors’ parts.

Lucy Griffiths in "Preacher."
Lucy Griffiths in “Preacher.”Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Say The Word

It should be mentioned that Jesse handles literal proof that his religion is the One True Religion with the exclamation, “Angels! God damn.” What’s revealed this episode is that for Jesse, religion is the means by which he can fulfill his promise to his father, the same promise that turned him from his old life of crime into the preacher he is today, a promise that he perceives as a burden. When the danger has passed and the angels insist on getting Genesis back, Jesse refuses, insisting that if God doesn’t want Jesse to have this power, he can come down and take it. He’s finally found the power to forcibly save Annville, and there’s no way he’s giving it up before he’s finished what he’s started.

The good news is that people are starting to call Jesse on his shit, whether they know if or not. Miles comes to Jesse, conflicted about what to do about the murders he witnessed last episode (though he doesn’t tell Jesse that), and winds up exposing Jesse’s own hypocrisy. Miles isn’t sure what to do, and asks, “How do you know it’s God giving you the direction, and not just the voice in your own head telling you what you want to hear?” Jesse, a guy following his own voice if ever there was one, responds, “Either you and God are saying the exact same thing. Either that or you’re not hearing God at all.” Jesse’s so caught up in his grand plan for the town that he can’t be bothered to properly help one of his parishioners who’s in pain right in front of him. The cracks are beginning to show in the Jesse Custer: Righteous Man facade.

Tom Brooke and Anatol Yusef in "Preacher."
Tom Brooke and Anatol Yusef in “Preacher.”Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Speaking of which, Eugene is feeling conflicted about how Jesse commanded Mrs. Loach to forgive him. Eugene is a true believer, while Jesse’s faith is a pose, a means to an end, and as such is devoid of empathy. Eugene rightly points out that choosing to be faithful is the entire point of religion, and while Jesse knows deep down that’s correct, he’s in no mood to hear it. “This is God’s will what I’ve done. What I’ve done for you. What I’m about to do. It is not cheating.” Eugene response, “It’s a sin! A wicked and terrible sin! It is and you know it is!” That’s one step too far for Jesse, who yells “Go to hell Eugene!” and when he turns around, Eugene has vanished. Now that’s a cliffhanger.

READ MORE: Ruth Negga on ‘Finally Identifying with Female Protagonists’ in ‘Preacher’ & ‘Loving’

Tulip Does (Not So) Cool Stuff

The bum note in this episode involves Tulip, who after encountering Emily at Jesse’s place last episode, has apparently decided that they’re an item. She shows up to Emily’s place with an ultimatum: “Stay away from my boyfriend!” Tulip’s efforts to win Jesse back have been fairly monotonous so far, but at least seemed to come from a place where she saw him as living a lie, and she wanted to free him from that lie, but this beat changes her from a partner in crime to a crazy ex-girlfriend, and it’s not a good look. Hopefully this is just a one-episode aberration. The confrontation diffuses pretty quickly and the two women end up bonding a bit, with Tulip even offering to help Emily with her church chores. It’s probably just an excuse to get closer to Jesse again, but at least it helps poor Emily out.

Once Tulip arrives at the church, she reconnects with Cassidy, who to his credit quickly susses out that she and Jesse used to be together. She tells him to keep quiet about it. Hopefully this won’t lead to sitcom-level revelations down the line.

For Those For Those Who Have Read The Comic (Skip If You Haven’t)

When Cassidy notices one of Jesse’s tattoos and asks where he got it, Jesse just says, “A mean old lady gave it me,” indicating that we might get Jesse’s full crazy backstory one of these days.

Grade: A-

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